ASSIST Sheffield

Challenging asylum destitution

Meet Patrick

Thanks to corruption and cover-ups, few people realise how bad the political situation in Malawi is. After Patrick got involved with politics, it became clear that he was no longer safe, and so he left his home and job for the UK.

Life as an asylum seeker is never easy. As Patrick says, “You don’t have the right to provide for yourself”. With no freedom to run their own lives, people like Patrick are forced to rely on others. On top of this, it is never clear how long any process regarding an asylum claim will take, or what others have planned for you. So it was that Patrick found himself unexpectedly detained by the Home Office. He was kept there for nine months.

It was a time of constant stress and sleepless nights. People were always coming and going, and Patrick wondered when it would be his turn. Then, without warning, he was informed that they could not send him back to Malawi. Suddenly released on bail, with no means of supporting himself, he at least had a friend he could stay with. But they could not support him indefinitely.

Left homeless and with no kind of support, things looked hopeless for Patrick. Thankfully, it was around this time that he was told about ASSIST Sheffield.

At first, it was just a place to sleep in their night shelter. But soon afterwards, just before Christmas 2014, they were able to give him accommodation and £20.00 a week support. “It’s not much,” he says, “but in that situation, it’s a lot.”

But these aren’t the only reasons Patrick is grateful to ASSIST Sheffield. On the streets and destitute, some become so desperate that they would do anything just to escape their situation. Thankfully, Patrick found out about ASSIST Sheffield before he reached this point: “Sometimes you sit there and you think, if it wasn’t for ASSIST Sheffield, where would I be now?”